The latter is the situation for the European Union and Washington, Nabucco’s primary backers.
Turkmenistan -- originally, Nabucco was meant to build on U.S. efforts to provide Central Asia with an alternative transport route to Russia - has balked at contracting with any serious western players for any fields on-shore, where the large volumes of natural gas are situated. Azerbaijan -- a possible backup player until Turkmenistan possibly changes its mind - last week signed a deal with Russia for its volumes from the super-giant Shah Deniz field. The re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the bloody crackdown that has followed, suspends hopes for the medium term at least for Iran becoming that source of natural gas. Iraq is also mentioned, but that’s only a reality in the event of a deal between the Kurds and the central government, a long-shot indeed.
The question is why the pro-Nabucco forces persist in pushing on a proverbial wet noodle. While the physics of inertia carry them forward, they might pay attention to other developments acting to diversify Europe’s natural gas.
As No Hot Air blogs, one is new technology that makes shale gas possible and economical to extract from convenient places like Germany, Hungary and Poland. Closer at hand in terms of availability is liquefied natural gas, which has come on stream in large volumes out of Qatar; but Europe must build the infrastructure to handle it.
Will Europe and the U.S. shift their focus to these very real alternatives?
-- Luke Allnutt